ACEP Helps ED Directors Reach New Milestone

April 2010

By Ron Hellstern, M.D.

In just 5 short years, ACEP's Emergency Department Director's Academy has gone from conceptual idea to a thriving educational program that recently produced its first certified directors.

Dr. Fady F. Jabre and Dr. William C. Gerard are respectively the first and second candidates to complete the EDDA's four phases--three didactic sessions and a mentored project.

"This is a long-awaited milestone for EDDA," said Dr. Rob Strauss, the EDDA's program director. "Of the more than 1,000 physicians who have completed phase I of the program, we now have our first two of many graduates to come. I wanted to be the first to offer them my congratulations."

Both physicians received their ACEP ED Director Certification in mid-November.

Dr. Jabre, chief of staff and immediate past medical director of the St. Catherine Hospital emergency department in Garden City, Kan., is also earning a physician executive MBA degree at Auburn University. His final project for the EDDA certification involved orchestrating changes in multiple hospital departments that resulted in a significant reduction in the average length of stay in his emergency department and improved patient satisfaction scores.

Dr. Gerard is medical director and chief of the department of emergency medicine at Palmetto Health Richland (PHR) in Columbia, S.C., as well as medical director for LifeNet SC Helicopters and Richland County EMS. His project developed a sophisticated air medical transport service patient satisfaction survey tool.

Consistently drawing capacity attendance since its inception, the EDDA program uses a sequential four-phase approach. Phase I is a basic overview of ED medical director skills, including everything from physician contracts to staffing and scheduling to billing and collection. Phase II focuses on the collaborative leadership relationship between the ED director and nurse manager, and nurse managers are encouraged to attend this phase with the ED directors. Phase III offers interactive, small-group sessions that emphasize communication skills, business plan development, and change management through role playing and other hands-on opportunities, allowing the participants to apply their knowledge to real-life scenarios.

By the time they reach their phase IV project, candidates have completed more than 120 hours of expert education in all aspects of ED operation and management. The projects are then intended to draw on the skills learned in phases I-III and use that knowledge to achieve a targeted result. These projects can require as much or more time to complete as the first three phases of the program.

After finishing the program, the EDDA candidate is awarded a certificate of completion attesting to the time invested in developing the leadership and management skills necessary to be an effective emergency department medical director.

"The EDDA program has been a resounding success for the College and for those physicians who have participated in it," said ACEP President Dr. Angela Gardner. "In the early days of our specialty, emergency physicians were thrown into leadership roles without adequate preparation or the necessary administrative skills. I feel ACEP is fulfilling one of its major goals by providing our members this opportunity to educate themselves to be superior leaders."

ACEP is currently taking registration for the next phase II offering, April 26-30. The next opportunity to begin the EDDA program is a phase I offering in November. Please visit for more information about the program.

DR. HELLSTERN is an EDDA faculty member and mentored both Dr. Jabre and Dr. Gerard during their phase IV projects.

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